Pentagon Expected To Ask For Supplementary War Funding. As Usual.

Remember a couple of weeks ago, when Congress passed a $680 billion appropriation? Well, don’t worry–the military will be getting still more money:

The nation’s top military officer said Wednesday that he expected the Pentagon to ask Congress in the next few months for emergency financing to support the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, even though President Obama has pledged to end the Bush administration practice of paying for the conflicts with so-called supplemental funds that are outside the normal Defense Department budget.

The financing would be on top of the $130 billion that Congress authorized for the wars just last month.

The military officer, Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, did not say how much additional money would be needed, but one figure in circulation within the Pentagon and among outside defense budget analysts is $50 billion.

Link via John Cole, who says:

Personally, I think it would be supremely irresponsible to act on this legislation without seeing the CBO score. I’m hoping Max Baucus and the blue dogs will get on that, because I’d like to know how this legislation will pay for itself. I suggest we put this off a few months to talk about the costs and how we are robbing future generations.

Oh, wait. This is for the military. Never mind.

That’s pretty much the Washington attitude.

(cross posted to Heretical Ideas)

FILED UNDER: Military Affairs, National Security, US Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Alex Knapp
About Alex Knapp
Alex Knapp is Associate Editor at Forbes for science and games. He was a longtime blogger elsewhere before joining the OTB team in June 2005 and contributed some 700 posts through January 2013. Follow him on Twitter @TheAlexKnapp.


  1. Hoodlumman says:

    We should also do this for Social Security, Medicare and any other programs will trillions worth of unfunded liabilities. Let’s get the CBO scores on everything.

  2. Ha ha. You’re bitching about a Democrat dominated Congress and a Democrat president spending money on defense as though they are Republicans. Now you know how some of us felt about a Republican dominated Congress and a Republican president spending money on social programs like Democrats.

    Anyway, the CBO scoring comments are silly. There are no “savings” to get back on these various, ahem, manly expressions of foreign policy. It’s a cost of doing business and no one pretends that they wre going to save money by doing so as some do with the proposed Health Care Takeover legislation.

  3. Crust says:

    $860 billion here, $860 billion there and soon you’re talking about real money. (860 = 680+130+50) That’s around half of the US discretionary budget. It’s also around half of what the entire world spends on military (and much of the other half is spent by our allies). Does anybody in Congress outside of Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul care?

  4. Crust says:

    Oops, it looks like the $680 billion (actually $668 billion according the NYT link) already includes the $130 billion. So we’re talking about a mere $720 billion or so. What’s the big deal?

  5. Did you really just cite Dennis Kucinich to support a position?

  6. Tlaloc says:

    I’ll certainly solicit Kucinich’s advice on dating.

  7. Crust says:

    charles austin:

    Did you really just cite Dennis Kucinich to support a position?

    No. I cited Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul to point out that support for a position in Congress is minimal. Fringe exceptions that prove the rule.

    Good one, Tlaloc.

  8. Wayne says:

    Sounds like some are advocating not funding our troops in the field.

    “half of the US “discretionary” budget”

    It sounds like we spend too much on other programs. Providing a strong military and interstate commerce is the primary responsibility of the Federal government. Many of the other programs they are involved in need to be eliminated.

  9. Wayne says:

    Protecting out borders is another responsibility of the Federal Government.

  10. the Q says:

    Why don’t we apply to the Defense budget what Reagan said about gov’t spending in general:

    “Well, if you’ve got a kid that’s extravagant, you can lecture him all you want to about his extravagance. Or you can cut his allowance and achieve the same end much quicker.”

    Why not give the Pentagon a fixed budget and let them decide how to spend it?

    If they think Iraq is more important than building the next generation of stealth submarines at $3 billion a pop, then let them cut out that program.

    If they want to add more troops in Afistan, then let them close bases here that are redundant or obsolete.

    By continually giving them the heroin of supplementary/discretionary budgets, they will just keep spending like the kid in Reagan’s example.

    FYI, this from Mr. X – George Kennan – in senate testimony in 1965 (brilliant as usual), which rings true now as then about our involvement in Vietnam/Afistan/Iraq:

    “There is more respect to be won in the opinion of this world by a resolute and courageous liquidation of unsound positions than by the most stubborn pursuit of extravagant or unpromising objectives. …

    “Our country should not be asked, and should not ask of itself, to shoulder the main burden of determining the political realities in any other country, and particularly not in one remote from our shores, from our culture and from the experience of our people.

    “The most disturbing aspect of our involvement in Vietnam is its relationship to our interests and responsibilities in other areas of world affairs. Whatever justification this involvement might have had if Vietnam had been the only important problem, or even the outstanding problem, we faced in the world today, this not being the case, its present dimensions can only be said to represent a grievous disbalance of American policy.”

    “This is not only not our business, but I don’t think we can do it successfully. …

    “Vietnam is not a region of major military, industrial importance. It is difficult to believe that any decisive developments of the world situation would be determined … by what happens on that territory. …

    “Even a situation in which South Vietnam was controlled exclusively by the Viet Cong … would not, in my opinion, present dangers great enough to justify our military intervention.”

    “I would not know what ‘victory’ means. … In this sort of war, one controls what one can take and hold and police with ground forces; one does not control what one bombs. And it seems to me the most unlikely of all contingencies that anyone should come to us on his knees and inquire our terms, whatever the escalation of our effort. …

    “If we can find nothing better to do than embark upon a further open-ended increase in the level of our commitment simply because the alternatives seem humiliating and frustrating, one will have to ask whether we have not become enslaved to the dynamics of a single unmanageable situation — to the point where we have lost much of the power of initiative and control over our own policy, not just locally but on a world scale.”

  11. Wayne says:

    For one Congress would never allow them to decide on how to spend it. Even now Congress often overturns priorities set by the branches. In addition the military doesn’t decide when, where and how to go to war. If the country sends them to fight a war then they need to give them the resources to do it. Telling them to fight this war and that war and do it such a way plus cut off their right arm to do it is asinine.

  12. the Q says:

    What is asinine is the notion that after the demise of the Soviet Union and 20 years after the fall of the Wall, we are spending almost a Trillion dollars on the military when our threat levels have decreased by half.

    Does anyone remember the “peace dividend” or the Guns/Butter production possibilities frontier?

    Perhaps the boom of the 90s wasn’t because of the PC or internet, but rather the trillion dollars we saved over 10 years of declining defense budgets which went into such stupid things as deficit reduction and capital gains tax cuts.

    Silly me……

  13. mike says:

    Wayne is correct – the Q, that is a really bad idea. Congress, if they could even stomach the idea of not being able to decide what money goes where, would then assign missions and insist they be carried out w/o funding them. Maybe a little no child left behind action – lots of required outcomes but no means of achieving them.

  14. Tlaloc says:

    We could cut our defense spending by about a third, cut our troops levels by half and still be the pre-eminent military power on the planet. In fact we should. I wouldn’t do it all at once by any means but slowly phase it in to minimize disruptions. Reduce recruitment targets and retention bonuses to naturally reduce the head count. Cut all the stupid wasteful programs. One area where I do think Obama has done well is in killing boondoggles like ballistic missile defense. Refocus the military on defense instead of the current goal of being able to maintain two simultaneous foreign invasions.

    The side benefit of having a leaner military (besides the huge amount of money saved) is that the temptation to invade nations without real good reason will be greatly reduced.

  15. steve says:

    Beware the military-industrial complex. I like Ike.


  16. sam says:

    Speaking of military spending and supporting the troops

    Coburn places hold on veterans benefits bill

    Glad to see that our vets are being looked after.

  17. sam, the names attached to congressional bills are not subject to any truth in advertising requirements. Frankly, your either ignorant or your attempt to slander Senator Coburn is fundamentally dishonest.

  18. sam says:

    Ah, Charles, for Christ’s sake, he’s put a hold the bill. Did you follow the link? WTF is up with you these days, dude?